Embattled Oregon Bakers, Aaron and Melissa Klein, Speak at Arkansas Church Rally

Melissa and Aaron Klein

Opponents of a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance in Fayetteville, Ark., heard Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein underscore the cause of religious liberty during an Aug. 11 rally at University Baptist Church.

Leaders of Protect Fayetteville (www.protectfayetteville.com) who sponsored the rally say Ordinance 5781 would infringe on First Amendment religious freedoms. Proponents, meanwhile, say it would protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community from being denied service, housing or employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The proposed ordinance is slated for a vote Sept. 8 in the city of 80,000 people where the University of Arkansas is located.

The Kleins, owners of the Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes who face a $135,000 fine for discrimination after refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding, addressed the rally’s 200-plus attendees.

The proposed ordinance “leaves the door wide open to force people to adhere to something they don’t want to adhere to,” Aaron Klein said in an interview with KNWA-TV. (For Baptist Press’ latest report on the Kleins’ case, clickhere.)

Protect Fayetteville warns on one of its websites (www.repeal119.com): “Under this ordinance, any baker, florist or photographer, event planner, printer, etc. who has a deeply held religious objection to forced participation in same-sex weddings could face prosecution if they decline to photograph, decorate a cake or provide a floral arrangement for a same-sex ceremony, reception or event.” The organization adds: “This includes forcing ministers to perform same-sex weddings.”

Bill Collins, a Fayetteville-area business owner who attended the Aug. 11 rally at University Baptist, told another local TV station, KFSM, he believes the proposed ordinance may affect fellow business owners.

“If things go terribly wrong, you could lose everything,” Collins said. “It is going to change how they do business, how they interact with the public, and it is just going to be one more thing that is going to interfere with their ability to make a profit.”

 

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Baptist Press

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